Arizona artist Kathy Klein gathers natural materials—cones, leaves, petals—and arranges them in situ. Bougainvillea in Los Angeles and Opuntia fruit in Sedona—her subjects are distinctly local, but her arrangements are designed to be universal. She's adapted the Hindu concept of a spiritual mandala (Sanskrit for 'circle') into a series of flora danmalas (Sanskrit for 'giver of garlands'). Her sense of composition is lyrical and her colorplay is alternately soft and dramatic.
The Netherlands has a long history of going cuckoo for flowers (two words: tulip & mania), so its annual Bloemencorso (Dutch for "flower parade") should come as no surprise. Except that every float is beyond belief, and even more so when one considers that the colors & patterns are all designed with flowers. Sculptures range from the surreal—twisting buildings & floating wizards—to the familiar—delftware china & Viking ships—and all are show-stopping. Bloemencorso is like Carnevale meets Macy's Day Parade, and everything is covered with flowers.
Four years ago, Steve Wheen began looking at potholes in his East London neighborhood a little differently. Naturally, they were a nuisance, but suddenly they also presented themselves as a vacant canvas in the urban monochrome. A pothole wants to be filled, but with what medium? He placed a few petunias in one pothole around the corner from his home. Blurring the distinction between protest and art, Wheen's little garden transformed the aesthetic of the neglected street, and drew attention to a community issue—in a charming way.
This year will be the seventeenth installment of a biennial tradition in Brussels—an enormous carpet of begonias in the city's Gothic-and-grey central square. It is an extraordinary project: sprawling over the cobblestones at Grand-Palace, the Flower Carpet (Tapis de Fleurs de Bruxelles) is comprised of about 750,000 begonias and weaves a bright, complex design in many colors. The begonia offers an artist's palette of hues—vivid saturation, light pastels, or variegated and white.
Mosses are back. They were a fad in the late 19th century, when newly discovered plants were being carried across the globe, and Victorian gardeners and armchair horticulturalists enjoyed domestic dalliances by cultivating mosses in terrariums and mosseries. When the craze abated, though, mosses were more or less relegated to their natural terrain of forests and woodland landscapes.
In the art world, sometimes a little mystery is the perfect promotion. Such was the case earlier this year, when a series of carved trees suddenly appeared in North Yorkshire, United Kingdom. The figurative sculptures—including a dragon, a kingfisher, and a ghost—popped up along a wooded public way, to the delight of local passersby.